May 11, 2005

Raising taxes is wrong?

The governor of Missouri, described as a devout Christian, says that raising taxes is wrong, so he is forced to cut 90,000 people from Medicaid. Now, this is just plain wacky, upside-down thinking. The tail wagging the dog. Disordered priorities. Raising taxes is wrong, but taking away basic support for disabled and low-income folks is OK?

I am all for reasonable, progressive taxation, and I believe there are probably some people being covered by Medicaid who don't really need that benefit. Like most folks, I don't want to be taxed any more than is needed for the common good. And no government program is going to be perfect, particularly one as broad as Medicaid. But it seems the governor is effectively saying that money is worth more than peoples' health and welfare. Or perhaps, the political lobby against tax increases has more clout than the lobby for human dignity and the common good.

As a Catholic Republican, this 'money over people' priority irks me. Tax revenues should not be wasted, and government does have a role of stewardship over its programs. I'm sure Medicaid needs some reforms and improvements, but that can be worked in better, more reasonable ways.

We've swung too far to the right, people, to the point of justifying tax cuts as a moral responsibility that takes priority over people's basic human needs.